Billionaire 2024 Hopeful: Donate $1, Get $20

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum hopes pricey strategy will land him a spot in GOP debate
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2023 8:47 AM CDT
Billionaire 2024 Hopeful: Donate $1, Get $20
Republican presidential candidate North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum speaks during a town hall meeting with employees at Rueter's Equipment, June 9, 2023, in Elkhart, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Donate as little as $1 to the presidential campaign of North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and you'll be rewarded with a $20 gift card. It's all part of what Politico reports is "a bold and expensive" fundraising strategy Burgum hopes will get him a spot on the GOP debate stage next month. Burgum needs 40,000 donors to qualify under RNC rules. Though his campaign hasn't said how many donors he currently has, it's offering $20 Visa or Mastercard gift cards to up to 50,000 donors. If all 50,000 of those donors give just $1, the tactic will come at a cost of $950,000.

"It's an unprecedented, almost desperate way for Burgum to recruit new donors" that "will surely raise eyebrows across the political and legal spectrum," per FWIW. One campaign finance and ethics lawyer tells Politico that Burgum appears to be "using these individuals as straw donors to make it look like he has a bunch of campaign donors," but reimbursing them which his own money. Ultimately, the cost might not matter to Burgum, who has an estimated net worth of more than $1 billion, Politico notes. His campaign has framed the strategy as a way to help people "hurting because of Bidenflation ... until Doug is elected President to fix this crazy economy."

Burgum isn't the only GOP candidate testing new ways of recruiting donors. In a Monday tweet, Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy said he was launching a fundraising program dubbed Vivek Kitchen Cabinet, in which anyone who passes a background check can sign up to fundraise for his campaign and earn a 10% commission on the total funds. Though Ramaswamy has said he's already hit the 40,000-donor threshold, "uncertainty about future debate thresholds and future expenses were considerable factors," per ABC News. (More Doug Burgum stories.)

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